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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Reporting on: Sunday, June 21, 2009 - Father's Day and the first day of Summer
Riding Route: From Canandaigua to Syracuse, NY
Temperature: 61-80 degrees/Winds: 1o mph in our face
Elevation Climb: 3600 feet
Miles ridden Today: 68

It was cloudy and misty when we took off this morning at 8:15. Because of the rain - we were delayed an hour. For the first hour or so we had drizzle and mist, but by 10:00 the sun started showing through the clouds. We were a happy group! Jeff Morrell joined us this morning (Picture Above) - and rode for about 25 miles with us. Because of Father's Day activities with his family he turned around at that point and headed back. Now he's a real rider! His normal pace is about 22-23 mph. He was kind and dawdled along with us at 17+ - and I think it was a ride in the park for him. Last night Jeff and his wife Tracy, took Champ, Tom Ryan and me to dinner. What a wonderful meal! They also gave us a tour of the Finger Lakes area. Jeff and his brother Scott are in the process of building out a huge showroom that includes everything for the home. They are builders in the area - and can't keep up with the business. Eat your heart out all of you in California! Business is great here! I can't thank them enough for their wonderful hospitality!

Today we passed the north end of a couple of the Finger Lakes. There are eleven lakes in all - and each one is long and very narrow (hence the name "finger lakes"). We rode by Seneca Lake which is the second longest (38 miles) and by far the deepest...with 4.1 trillion gallons of water! As you would guess from their depth they were formed by glaciers. ( By contrast - for those of you on the West Coast - Lake Tahoe is the third deepest lake in North America and the tenth deepest in the world. Its greatest measured depth is 1,645 feet and averages 1,000 feet). I learned that Senaca Falls was an area that played a huge part in the women's rights movement in the mid 1800's. The first Women's Rights Convention was there here in 1848 (Picture Above). Any women reading this blog should buy the movie "Ironed Jawed Angels" - which Carol would highly recommend! It's a true story about two women who took a strong stand for women's rights in this country. Think about the women of Iran as you see it! It's inspirational!

We also passed by the Erie Canal. There is so much history in this area that I could write ten pages and still not cover the basics! But just a few facts: The Canal runs 363 miles from Albany to Buffalo tying together the Hudson River and Lake Erie...and was the first navigable water route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. It was under construction from 1817 to 1832 - but officially opened in 1825 when the first phase was complete. The main problem encountered was that the land rises about 600 feet from the Hudson to Lake Erie. Locks at the time could handle up to 12 feet, so at least 50 locks had to be built along the 360 miles canal. The cost was astronomical even for those days! For my young readers I need to tell you that the channel was a cut 40 feet wide and 4 feet deep. The soil that they took out of the channel was piled on the downhill side to form a walkway called the "towpath". Canal boats, up to 3.5 feet in draft, were pulled by horses and mules on the towpath. So how did the boats pass each other? There was only one towpath, generally on the north side of the ditch. When canal boats met, the boat with the right-of-way steered to the towpath side of the canal. The other boat steered toward the berm or "heelpath" side of the canal. Did you know that the sides of the canal were lined with stones set in clay? It took hundreds of German masons to do the work - and much of the original canal is still in place today!

We also stopped in Waterloo, NY today. (Yes, the village is named after the Waterloo, Belgium where Napoleon was defeated). It's known as the birthplace of Memorial Day. They first celebrated it here on May 5, 1866. The date was later changed to May 30th - which we celebrate today. It was originally known as "Decoration Day" in honor of our fallen soldiers. As we passed through communities today there were some beautiful "old" homes that were built in the early 1800's. They were well maintained and the yards were immaculate.

New York continues to get the best marks for bike lanes. BUT...yes we had another incident. Nancy flew off her bike today and dislocated her shoulder, has her arm in a sling and lots of "road rash". She was taken to the hospital - but is back with us tonight, and probably won't ride the remaining 5 days. I also checked in with Bob Fuller - who had the run-in with the motor cycle. He's been moved to a convalescent hospital but sounds in good spirits. If you're reading this Bob, know that you're in our thoughts and prayers! Get well soon!

Today was Willie's 52nd birthday and when we arrived at the hotel there were balloons from his family and a celebration for him. We all signed a card - and had cupcakes! Happy birthday Willie!

Both my knees are stiff and sore. The Aleve in the morning and evening are helping, but I think it's good that I'll have a rest in a few days. Carol, our son Steve and his wife Andrea, are meeting me at the finish - along with our good friends Ron and Nancy Smith (who are coming up from Florida) and we'll have some good hugs and a celebration that the old man made it all the way across the country! However, as you can see from the picture above, I've upgraded my bike from when I left Manhattan Beach! (Do you remember that picture)? More tomorrow!


  1. Happy Fathers Day, Dad "D"! You're almost there! We are so proud of you! Love, Nick

  2. Hi Hank,

    Have enjoyed following your blog while reliving XC08. You've had a lot more rain than we had last year - and your headwinds have extended further East. We seemed to get more tailwinds after passing through the Midwest. You mentioned Tom Ryan in today's post. Is he still riding? He hasn't posted since June 13th. My sister lives in Syracuse so we were able to visit last year. Hope that all goes well the last days of the tour.

    Best wishes,
    Iowa Bob XC08

  3. Thanks for your message Nick. Looking forward to seeing everyone when I get home!

    Dad D.

  4. Hi Bob,
    Yes, Tom is still riding! And yes, those headwinds have made the trip slower and tougher! We would gladly take some of those tailwinds!